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Teaching children about money – and how to manage it – is one of the most important things you can do as a parent or guardian.
And it's never too early to start, as research by the Money Advice Service shows that children will already have formed their money habits by the age of just seven.With this in mind, instilling good habits such as saving and spending responsibly makes good sense, and will pay dividends in later life.If you want to help your littleones to become financially-savvy from a young age, there is lots of information and tools and apps available to help you teach your kids. Here are some of my top picks.
1) GoHenry (Gohenry.co.uk)
This app, for those aged between six and 18, offers parents a way to give their children digital pocket money. The aim is to help children learn about financial independence.Children get their own prepaid Visa debit card with parental controls,through a linked online account.
This means that parents can keep tabs on their kids spending via a smartphone or laptop, setting rules and limits on the cards use. Kidscan also receive extra money for carrying out household chores, helping them make the connection between having cash and earning it. This helps to give children a better sense of the value of money.
GoHenry is free for a month, and then costs £2.99 per child, per month.
2) Osper (Osper.com)
This tool, aimed at childrenaged between eight and 18, alsooffers a prepaid debit card where parents can monitor and manage their childrens spending.The app,backed by MasterCard, has two separate log-ins one for the child who can check their balance and make purchases, and one for the parents who can review what has been spent and top-up the card. Crucially, the child can only spend what is in the account, as theres no overdraft facility.Osper is free for 30 days, thencosts from £2 per child, per month.
3) RoosterMoney (Roostermoney.com)
This online pocket money and allowancetracker, which used to be known as RoosterBank, is aimed at children aged four and up.The aim is to help parents teachtheir little ones about the value of money in a digital age. This tool not only enables parents to manage their son or daughters account by signing up to its digital tracker but also gives children the opportunity to earn extra cash for doing chores.
Children get to learn about the valueof saving pocket money and gifts towards goals, and parents can even take pictures of items in shops and set these as savings targets.
The basic app is free, but for all the bells and whistles, you need tosign up for Rooster Plus which costs £1.99 a month, or £14.99 a year.
4) Pigbys Fair
This highly-entertaining app, created by NatWest and designed by the makers of Wallace and Gromit helps introduce children aged between four and six to money.
The tool encourages pre-school children to learn about saving by going on adventures through an animated fairground though you dont need any real money as the whole app is virtual.Children have opportunities to spend or save, andmake regular trips to Pigbybank to deposit some of their hard-earned pocket money.
Players can manage their ownstalls, make stock to bring in new customers, and play a host of games. As they reach their savings goals, they can unlock new levels, and progress further.
This tool allows parentsand children to track pocket money and spending. You can run multiple banks for different children, set up particular chores and offer rewards when they are successfully completed. Children get to see their savings progress with colourful pie charts and other graphics. Cost: £3.99.
6) Qwiddle (Qwiddle.co.uk)
With this online piggy bank, powered by PayPal,parents can transfer money and set controls. Money can be earned for carrying out tasks, such as washing up or washing the car, so children can save up for things they want. The aim is to get little ones into good habits when it comes to saving and spending. Children have to be aged 15 or under to join. Qwiddle is free.
Tips to get children saving
- Visit the Money Advice Service for some helpful ideason how to educate children about money. The site provides videos and other tools to help parents.
- Talk aboutmoney. Dont let it become a taboo subject at home because they can learn from you.
- Get children used to handling money. Try something as simple ascounting out coins. This can help to increase their understanding.
- Take children to thesupermarket with you, and get them to help you find the best deals.
- Get children to earn their pocket money. Set tasks such as washing the car orwalking the dog.
- Teach them to save. For younger children, get three jars, and labelone for spending, one for saving, and one for charity.Encourage them by paying interest on their savings.
- Draw a chart on their wall and colour it in as the balance grows. This will help children monitor their progress, and help to keep them interested.
- Get children used to the habit of savings and seeingtheir balance grow. Help them to set savings goals so they have something to work towards.